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Jo Kiely

“In the late 2010s, there was a moment where we were suddenly seeing loads of lesbian and bi stories and it felt like a big shift,” Daisy Jones says, explaining the inspiration behind her debut book. If you’ve ever wondered about why Cate Blanchett is so beloved by the queer community or how TikTok, like Tumblr, has become a thriving space of education and self-expression, then add All The Things She Said to your Goodreads list.

An introspective dive into the fast-moving world of queer culture, Daisy unpacks some of the 21st century’s biggest lesbian and bisexual moments to paint a portrait of what modern-day queerness looks like. If you don’t believe me, the writer explains where the idea of an accessible, light-hearted queer book stemmed from. “I wanted to capture that and celebrate the change, but also interrogate it too. I wanted to figure out why that had happened and what that moment was because it was interesting,” she says. “But, also, I didn’t see any lesbian and bi stories growing up. It’s something that’s becoming more common now, but when I was a teenager, queer culture was this umbrella that meant cis white men and that was it. I wanted to write the book that I wish I could have read growing up.”

Drawing on experiences from the lesbian and bisexual community, the book questions some of the most prominent LGBTQ+ moments that fell into the mainstream. Take Carol, for example, the journalist noticed how the period drama amassed a cult-like queer following online. “Fandom culture is massive among our people and that transcends sexuality,” Daisy explains. “We might be in 2021, but queer isolation is still very real so it’s a way of getting people together. It sounds simple, but queer people are drawn to one another and social media is the perfect petri dish for that community to flourish.”

Ahead of the release of All The Things She Said, Daisy broke down her top 10 pop culture moments and told us why this exclusive line up outranks anything else you’ll ever read on the internet. So, for those of us who stan Cate Blanchett as much as the next, check out the list below.

1. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters 
This is easily one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, maybe even five, or ten. I devoured it in one sitting at the park in the grass. It’s one of those books which sticks with you in ways that are difficult to articulate. But after reading, I felt like something inside me shifted gears. Torrey writes about gender and sexuality in this really special way – complex, humourous, human, accurate, sexy, sad – which feels rare in this weird, rigid world we live in.

2. Liquid Sky by Slava Tskuerman 
Liquid Sky has everything. UFOs. Sex. Cocaine. Neon. Shoulder pads. Bleached hair. A really chaotic, electronic sci-fi soundtrack. I can’t remember when I first watched this movie – 2014, 2015? But when I did, I remember thinking, “Oh, so that’s where everything you’re into comes from.”

3. Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
Writing about sex is really hard because it can so easily lean into porn-y cliche territory, which isn’t cool unless you’re Jackie Collins. But Melissa Broder writes about sex incredibly well – specifically queer sex. How many hot, realistic sapphic sex scenes exist in books? I can’t even count them on one hand.

4. Mullholland Drive by David Lynch
My partner got me into this film because she’s kind of obsessed with it, which is apt because it’s a film about obsession and now I’m obsessed with it too. Like every Lynch film, I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what happens – using words – because it operates under a logic which defies words. But it includes my two favourite things – Hollywood and lesbianism. Also, one of the main characters, Rita, wears this black silk gown around the house. So now I wear a black silk gown around the house.

5. Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
A very cool sexy playful book, which feels a bit like watching a 90s movie with a killer soundtrack (it’s set in the 90s, and there’s a bunch of references to music throughout, from George Michael to Hole to Pansy Division and Kim Gordon). Whenever I read this it makes me want to put on some leather trousers and a pink glittery top and blue eyeshadow and go out clubbing. The fact a book can make you feel that way is wild, like a good mixtape or Todd Haynes film.

6. Kevin Abstract – American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story
One of my all-time favourite albums, still. You know when you fall in love and the whole world sort of turns to syrup? But it hurts too, because the other side of love is heartbreak, which is painful and blue. The two feelings often coexist simultaneously. That’s what this album sounds like. So much sweetness and melancholy, like a long hot summer that you don’t want to end.

I remember interviewing Kevin Abstract just before American Boyfriend came out in 2016 and he said that he was in love and it was shaping the album and that his biggest fear was getting into a fatal car accident before anyone could hear what it sounds like. Luckily that didn’t happen.

7. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson 
I read The Argonauts during one blazing July, swinging on a hammock, so I really associate this book with the feeling of sun and sweat. Anyway! This book was very impactful for me, as it was for many. It made me think a lot about bodies and desire and family and fluidity and what any of it means or doesn’t mean or could. People think of “having a baby,” for instance, as a very heternormative thing to do. But there’s something quite queer about making something with somebody else, and having your body and sense of self transform in the process.

8. The Runaways by Floria Sigismondi 
Absolutely ridiculous film, which is just how I like them. I feel like everyone loves Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett in The Runaways, but I have a soft spot for Dakota as Cherie Currie, with her 70s bangs and powdery eye shadow. Also, that kiss they share to The Stooges “I Wanna Be a Dog” belongs in some kind of queer hall of fame. So do the outfits.

9. Female Masculinity By Jack Halberstam
When I first read Female Masculinity I remember just wanting to underline and highlight so many sentences, which isn’t something I usually do with books. It changed the way I viewed myself and it did the same for a lot of my queer mates. I grew up thinking there was something really weird about me, because of how I naturally presented. After reading Female Masculinity, a lot of internalised preconceived notions were shattered. Masculinity doesn’t belong to men. It never has. This should be on school syllabus.

10. Grace Jones – Nightclubbing 
Grace Jones could be the coolest person on the planet. I am obsessed with her entire discography, but especially anything post-1980, when she gets less disco and more freaky and new wave. Nightclubbing is my favourite album of hers. Fun fact: The first tattoo I ever got was her face, from that album art, smoking a cigarette, on my leg. I was lucky enough to interview her for Dazed back in 2015 or something, which I write about in the closing chapter of my book. I’ve always been really inspired by the way she views the world and refuses to let anybody box her in. Also, she’s like 72 years old and can hula hoop for the whole duration of “Slave to the Rhythm” – I’ve seen it live.

You can pre-order All The Things She Said: Everything I Know About Modern Lesbian and Bi Culture here